Copying files

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One way to copy files to and from a machine is as follows:

To copy from the machine you are on

tar czf - dir1 dir2 dir3 | ssh "tar xzf - -C path/for/new/files "

To copy from a remote machine to the machine you are on

ssh "cd path/to/dir/you/want ; tar czf - diryouwant1 diryouwant2 " | tar xzf - -C where/it/goes/locally

This has advantages that it does not copy symbolic links. It also compresses the data while copying